IndyCar

IndyCar, Texas Motor Speedway reach new four-year agreement

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IndyCar officials on Thursday morning announced a new four-year agreement with Texas Motor Speedway to continue racing at the 1.5-mile superspeedway through 2022.

“IndyCar is pleased to continue its long relationship with Texas Motor Speedway, a partnership that stretches to 1997,” Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in a statement. “This oval track annually produces some of the most exciting racing of the season, contributes to the diversity of the schedule and helps us continue the oval heritage of Indy car racing.

“It’s good to know that Texas will remain a mainstay of the Verizon IndyCar Series for years to come.”

The first race of the new agreement – the DXC Technology 600 – will be a Saturday night event on June 8, 2019.

“Texas Motor Speedway is the second home of Indy car racing, and we are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Verizon IndyCar Series and with DXC Technology,” Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said in a statement. “We are pleased to have negotiated a sanction agreement that allows Texas Motor Speedway to move forward with IndyCar.

“Our company has invested significant dollars into the sport and a tremendous amount of effort growing the sport through the years.”

TMS has played host to 30 Indy car events since 1997, including two races per year from 1998 to 2004 and a same-day doubleheader in 2011.

Only the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (102 races), the street course in Long Beach, California (35 races) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (34 races) have held more IndyCar races than TMS.

“So many great moments in this sport have occurred at Texas Motor Speedway,” Gossage said. “This is and always will be ‘America’s original nighttime Indy car race.’ Photo finishes and victory lane drama have been the standard over the years.

“No other track has seen as many Verizon IndyCar Series races over the last two-plus decades. Texas Motor Speedway has been good for Indy car racing and Indy car racing has been good for Texas Motor Speedway.”

Scott Dixon won the most recent race there this past June.

IndyCar is expected to announce the full 2019 schedule in September.

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WATCH: Red Bull F1 team completes pit stop in zero gravity

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The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.

With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.

Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.

With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.

“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!

“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”

Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.

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